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England Counties Name Side for First African Challenge

04 June 2012

  • Nine new caps are named to take on the Ugandan Barbarians
  • They are going to be physical and will want to play at pace – Bonney
England Counties practice set moves during their first full squad training session

Photo: RFU Archive

England Counties have named their team to take on the Ugandan Barbarians, the first of three matches on their East African tour.

Nine players will win their first caps at the Kyandondo Rugby Club, Kampala tomorrow (kick off 16:30 Ugandan time) against a side drawn from the top Ugandan clubs.

The Counties met as a full squad for the first time yesterday after flight problems meant that they were forced to fly out in small groups across three days, rather than as a single party on Friday.

The players included in tomorrow's starting line up spent the extra two days in England training at the Harlington Sports Ground near Heathrow, but had their first full squad session at Kyandondo today.

Honour of representing your country on tour

Head Coach Jan Bonney said: "Despite the disjointed start, training in London allowed the newer players to get up to speed with the patterns of play and understand what we want to achieve.

"This morning was the first time we had everyone as a group so repetition was important to ensure that the squad are comfortable with our set plays. I’m pleased with how training went but ultimately we need a game under our belts now to iron out any issues ahead of the tests against the Elgon Warriors.

"This is the first time many of the boys will pull on the England shirt and to represent your country on tour adds to the honour. We have some young players, Will Burton and Jim Wigglesworth, both only 19 so it is a great opportunity for them to step up from Under 20 rugby. Hopefully there will be a big partisan crowd which will add to the occasion.

Jim Wigglesworth will win his first senior England Counties cap

Photo: Getty Images

"It will be key that we concentrate on our own play, run through our patterns, be defensively alert and look after the ball. We’ve watched a couple of Ugandan club games so we know that they are going to be physical and will want to play at pace. After Tuesday, we will have a better idea about what we can expect in the following tests."

The England Counties also play the Elgon Warriors, the best players from across East Africa, on Saturday in Kampala (kick off 16:00 Ugandan Time) and then again in Nairobi on Saturday, June 16 (kick off 16:00 Kenyan Time), both of which will be shown live on Supersport across Africa.

England Counties (v Ugandan Barbarians)

15. Chris Briers (Fylde & Lancashire)
14. Jack Smales (Nevers & Northumberland)
13. Toby Howley-Berridge* (Unattached & Eastern Counties)
12. Steve Hamilton (Unattached & Yorkshire) (C)
11. Jim Wigglesworth* (Hull & Yorkshire)
10. Will Burton* (Luctonians & North Mids)
9. Stefan Liebenberg (Bedford & Hertfordshire)
1. Jared Saunders* (Saracens & Hertfordshire)
2. Joe Bonner* (Blackheath & Kent)
3. David Dickinson (Tynedale & Northumberland)
4. Gareth Rawlings* (Fylde & Lancashire)
5. Richard Boyle (Newcastle Falcons & Northumberland)
6. Dave Marwick* (Stockport & Cheshire)
7. Ben Pons* (Moseley & North Mids)
8. Billy Johnson* (Unattached & Hertfordshire)

Replacements

16. Sam Wilkes (Cinderford & Gloucestershire)
17. Craig Voisey (Moseley & North Mids)
18. Chris Wearmouth (Blaydon & Durham)
19. Rob Baldwin (Wharfedale & Yorkshire)
20. Harry Peck (Tynedale & Northumberland)
21. Tom Wheatcroft (Ealing & Warwickshire)
22. Peter Hodgkinson (Ealing & Cheshire)

* Players winning their first caps for England Counties